As far as most companies go, content — created, stored, maintained and archived — is a beast. It’s living, breathing, magnificent … but rather unwieldy. Only precise, skillful governance can harness content’s fullest potential, including the potential of learning content, across its life cycle. With the current world situation, where everything is going increasingly — and hurriedly — digital, it is high time for learning and content to follow suit.
Most learning initiatives lead to the generation of an unbelievable amount of content, of different kinds and of different levels of importance. This content comes with procedures and strategies that comprise each of the various steps of its life cycle. Different people, from different teams, modify, store, use and reuse content, sometimes on different platforms or different storage systems.
Most organizations don’t have communication protocols set for their employees to announce, update or inform their colleagues about the content they are creating or commissioning or where they are deploying it. For some organizations, even when they have tried to put similar measures in place, they did not experience much success because of the tedious and manual nature of the process.
And, because most systems within an intranet or behind a firewall are not yet intelligent enough to know what’s going on within their ecosystem, a gap in communication develops regarding what learning content exists, what is being created and what is needed. In the process, an organization ends up creating more of the same or similar content.
Sometimes, the authors of this content move on from the organization, leaving the content “orphaned.” As a result, there is no one responsible for that content asset, no one to update it as needed, no one to explain its contents or extrapolate from it, and no one to retire it once it becomes outdated or obsolete. When several pieces of orphaned content float around an organization’s learning and knowledge ecosystem, it becomes a dangerous junkyard of misinformation, redundancy and errors — not to mention a huge liability that needs to be cleaned up at cost.
Do You See the Problem?
Any learning object needs to be managed through its entire life cycle, not only to extend the life of that content object but to help preserve or enhance its quality, make sure there are no compliance risks, and track its use. Currently, for most organizations, the life cycle of learning content consists of a blend of a battery of manual maneuvers, scattered technologies and cumbersome passing of batons as learning content travels through multiple teams, people and versions. With no proper communication pattern or intersection points, employees duplicate existing content or waste time looking for it. The result: a huge loss of effort, time and money.
Why Take a Second Look Now?
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the world and the way we live and work in it, the “all digital, no manual” mantra is poised to become the order of the day. With “low touch” governing every sphere of life, effective digital communication within an organization, especially now that a huge population works from home, is critical.
Now, more than ever, organizations need a digital solution for managing all their learning content through its entire life cycle — and not in silos — to provide an integrated and automated method of governing procedures and controls seamlessly.
Freedom for Flexibility: “Headless” and “Tailless”
So, the time is ripe now for a solution that will complement your company’s learning management system (LMS) and authoring tools and give you the autonomy to select what’s right for your company’s specific learning needs. An adaptable solution that caters to modern learning will be your mainstay when it comes to dealing with the different stages of managing the life cycle of your learning content.
For the most supple of solutions, the aim should be to separate the “head,” the procedure of transferring and staging the learning content available to the learner, from the “body,” the procedure of generating, stocking and governing it. This headless architecture will enable you to choose the delivery and presentation options that fit your company’s requirements for learning and development.
You also need to veer away from inflexible solutions that do not let you select the best-fit authoring tools for your learning content creation requirements. A “tailless” (authoring tool-neutral) solution will enable your company to hold the reins of your learning efforts by giving you the independence to select the authoring tools of your own preference. Currently, it is only your talent management system that benefits directly from your LMS. You need a solution that integrates with your learning content management system (LCMS) at multiple points of intersection.
Connected Content: The Perfect Solution
Connectedness is key. Ideally, you need an intuitive solution that will keep content fresh and current by, for example, sending automated reminders to the content owner to update it or use it. The perfect solution will communicate organically with all functionalities of your business and add more power, through mechanisms and capabilities, to your traditional LMS and LCMS.
The right solution will also take care of version control across the content’s life cycle stages, from exploration, strategizing, quantification and planning to collection, creation and classification. This dedicated system, governing the entire life cycle of your learning content, will mesh with your other tools and give leaders solid data about the performance and production of team members as well. But the ultimate goal will be to help you distribute better, curated and timely content.
Managing the entire life cycle of your learning content will help you in many ways. It will make your processes more efficient and your employees more productive by automating and streamlining your content management procedure and increasing innovation, ultimately saving resources, effort and costs. You can leave the management of the learning content as it lives, breathes and works can to a technological solution, freeing up you and your team to focus on other important tasks.